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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Going green

Having Logan in preschool this year has really put a kink in my never-tell-my-kids-about-holidays-so-I-don't-have-to-do-anything-for-them plan. Each day he comes home from school bursting with information about Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years/Valentine's Day/fill in the holiday here. I should have known I was in trouble when a few days before St. Patrick's Day, Logan wouldn't wear his green pants because he was "saving them." Sure enough, on March 17th Logan came upstairs dressed in green pants, a green shirt, and a green jacket. After school he insisted on a green lunch, and since breakfast was overlooked, he helped me make green pancakes and eggs for dinner. We also made green sugar cookies for him to take to preschool as the class snack that day. My favorite part was watching Jeff and Logan debate the existence of leprechauns over dinner. Jeff finds such joy in bringing out Logan's passions. :) I was pretty greened out by the end of the day, but I'll admit it was fun watching Logan experience such a simple holiday for the first time.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reuniting

Last month we held our first ever Pendleton reunion. We went to a cabin near Heber and stayed for a long weekend. There we did what we do best - eat and play! We Pendletons have a real weakness for snack foods. So each evening we would break out the treats and games and play until all hours of the morning. One night we played Fear Factor. I'll confess I was dreading this game as the show has always made my stomach turn. The first round involved lots of gross foods. There were:

  • lemons
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  • "dog food"
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  • jalapenos
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  • "pig's blood"
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  • and lots of funny faces!

Another round involved standing in a bucket of ice water while fishing out marbles with your toes, but in my opinion the final round was the worst. Someone on your team had to reach into a bowl full of crickets, pull out stickers, then run over and put the stickers on their teammate! I was grossed out just touching the stickers that had been in the bowl, much less putting my hand in there! Ugh!

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Our days were spent playing in the snow, playing on the Wii, or swimming in the hot tub. Logan preferred the Wii, while Savannah loved the hot tub, but both LOVED playing in the snow. They would play outside for hours with their cousins, never getting sick of it. You'd think they'd never seen snow before!

I love how Jeff and Logan have the same facial expressions in both of these pictures. Like father, like son.

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I couldn't believe how brave my kids were when it came to sledding. They would go down any hill by themselves without any hesitation. Logan even strapped on his cousin's snowboard and came down the driveway on it. When they got tired of sledding, the "big boys" came out and helped them build a snow cave. I don't know who was more proud of the cave, the grandkids or grandpa. :)

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Some of the other reunion highlights were:
  • Our cooking and cleanup assignments. Who knew dishes could be so much fun?
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  • Singing songs together.
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  • Listening to Grandma Smith tell memories of her early years.
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  • All of us receiving the much fought over "golden child" award.
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Thanks, Amy and Joe, for a great reunion! We had so much fun and can't wait to do it again in two years. We're in charge next, so if anyone has some good ideas of where to go I'd love to hear them!

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Friday, March 18, 2011

The name

I can't believe my baby is already a week old. The first few days fly by so quickly. Already she is more alert, reminding me how fleeting this time is. Before long she will be smiling, laughing, crawling, and doing other blogworthy things, but for now I want to share the story of how we chose Isabelle's name. It was a long and sometimes torturous process-- one that deserves sharing.

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Jeff and I have a policy that we won't name our children until we've seen them. We don't call them by name in the womb, and we don't commit to a single name until our babe is in arms. With the first two, however, we were able to narrow it down to two names pretty quickly. Once we saw our babies, one name seemed to fit better than the other, and voila! Our children had names.

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With Isabelle, it was not so easy. For months we deliberated, adding names to the list, taking them off a few days later, then adding them back weeks after that. Our list was long--at least 10 names at any given time--and none were standing out as real winners. With a month left before my due date, two names came to the surface, but neither felt right.

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When Isabelle was born, I took one look at her and realized we could name her anything. It wasn't a matter of finding the right name, it was just a matter of choosing a name. It didn't matter what we named her, but she needed a name. Several hours after her birth, Jeff and I sat in the recovery room going over our name list one more time. We went back and forth between our top two names, but then Jeff threw in a wild card: Isabella. It wasn't totally out of the blue--it was our backup name for Savannah--but I had long ago discarded it because it ranked number 2 on the 100 most popular names of 2010.

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I sat for a long time thinking about the name Isabella. Could I do that to my child? Could I give her a name that every third little girl will have? Could I doom her to a life of being called Isabella P.? Could I name her after the trendiest vampire character of the decade? But I did love the name, more than any other we had come up with thus far. So after much discussion and agony (at least from me, I don't think Jeff agonized much), we compromised. We'd name her Isabelle instead of Isabella. It only ranked 36 on the list of 2010 names (I know-- still pretty popular) and besides, it sounded better with our preferred middle name: Kate.

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And so I did something I swore I'd never do: I followed the fad. Already I've noticed that every time I tell someone her name, they feel inclined to tell me about their daughter/granddaughter/friend/little girl in Primary who also is named Isabelle, or some variation of Isabelle. I find myself calling her Belle more and more often, just to give her a chance of being unique in the world of Isabelles, Isabellas and Bellas.

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Now that I've had some time to get used to it, Isabelle Kate is just perfect for our little monkey. She is the sweetest newborn I could ask for, and I love that she has a sweet name to match. Now I just hope and pray that if another baby is in our future, it will be a boy so we don't have to come up with another girl's name.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Isabelle's arrival

Each pregnancy I think to myself, "Maybe this time I won't schedule an induction. Maybe I'll wait and see if I go into labor on my own." I think this all the way up until 36 weeks or so. And then I can't schedule a date soon enough.

With this pregnancy, the last few weeks were especially uncomfortable, so I began taking measures to try and induce my own labor. I walked, I took the steps two at a time, I deep cleaned my house-- I really tried everything short of castor oil, but aside from one night of really strong contractions that eventually went away, my body refused to cooperate. And so on March 10, two days shy of my due date, we drove to the hospital for an elective induction.

The morning went as follows:
5:20 am - Can't sleep anymore so I call the hospital to check if they will be able to fit me in. They say I can come at 6. Hooray!
6:15 - Jeff and I leave the kids at home with my sister and drowsily make the 5 minute drive to the hospital. Realize we are pathetic for not being able to make it on time.
6:20 - I am admitted and set up in a delivery room.
6:40 - The nurse picks up an irregular heart rate from baby. Every so often her heart would beat a bit early, sounding like a gallop. At this point I am dilated 4 cm.
7:00 - Start the pitocin. Bring it on.

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8:15 - My doctor arrives and breaks my water. He attaches a fetal monitor to the baby's head to track her heartbeat. He's only mildly concerned about her arrhythmia and expects it will resolve itself with the baby's first breath, but calls for a pediatric cardiologist to be in the room at delivery.

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8:45 - Epidural. Oh happy day! I am dilated to 5 cm.
9:15 - Jeff turns on ESPN to track basketball coverage. I start feeling queasy. Coincidence?
10:00 - Still only dilated 5 cm. I begin to worry how long I might be in labor. The nurse ups the pitocin dose.
10:30 - Nurse checks and finds I am completely dilated! Wahoo! My doctor, however, is at another hospital delivering another baby, so the nurse tells me to "try hard to rest and let the baby descend." Jeff thinks this is hilarious for some reason. Something about how I need to work hard to rest.
11:20 - My doctor arrives and I begin pushing.
11:42 - Baby is here!

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I found I was much more composed and involved with this delivery than I had been with the other two. I could anticipate what was going to happen next and watch for it. I was able to witness the moment when my stomach "deflated," and I made sure I was positioned so I could see my baby even before she was all the way out. (Too much information? Sorry.) The nursery staff cleaned her up quickly, checked her heartbeat (still irregular), and weighed her. I have now delivered three babies with three different doctors, and each has waited around to see what they weigh. I am actually starting to get a little bothered by all the comments from hospital staff about how big my babies are. Even big newborns are still small, and since I just pushed that thing through my birth canal, I'd rather not dwell on the size right away. Is that so much to ask? :)

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Still, I am pretty proud of my big babies. I thought this would be my biggest yet, but at 9 lbs 5 oz, she was 1 oz short of Savannah's birth weight. I got to spend the first blissful hour with her in my arms before the nursery came to clean her up just as the BYU game started. Perfect timing. (Note to self: don't have babies in March unless you want to spend your entire hospital stay watching basketball.)

The rest of our time at the hospital was uneventful. We spent the first afternoon picking a name (we really struggled to name this baby - more on that later) and finally came up with Isabelle Kate. Isabelle had lots of visitors her first day which helped the time pass quickly for me. I let the nursery take her for the night but still slept restlessly. The next day was loooong. I would have gone home after 24 hours, but our supplementary insurance required a 48 hour stay. As evidence of how bored we were, we spent a couple hours making a lifetime financial plan with everything from the monthly budget clear through retirement.

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Saturday morning we packed up and came home. Today Isabelle is 5 days old and I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Logan and Savannah adore Isabelle and I feel as though she has always been a part of our family. I am so grateful for her safe and healthy arrival. At the doctor yesterday her heart sounded completely normal, so now she is 100% perfect and can't wait to meet all of you!

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This is the best family picture we got. My kids are so silly, but at the same time it's so them.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Special delivery

She's here! Isabelle Kate joined our family on March 10. She fell just short of the family record but still impressed the delivery staff at 9 lbs 5 oz. Isabelle and I came home this morning and are enjoying a few hours of peace before the other kids come back from Grandma and Grandpa's. I'll post details of her delivery soon, but for now, I'm going to go kiss those squishy cheeks.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jeff

I am writing this post while I lay in a hospital bed, awaiting the arrival of our baby girl. Normally I would save blog posts for after delivery, but I couldn't spotlight each member of my family and not include a post about Jeff. After all, he will be the most neglected after the baby comes, so he deserves the most attention now.

The other day I was listening to the song Lucky on the radio. I realized how lucky I am "to be in love with my best friend," as the song says. I have many dear friends, but none can make me feel as comfortable, loved, and entertained as Jeff can. Lately he's been working really long hours, and I find myself missing the time we usually share in the evenings.

Jeff is a great dad. He sometimes complains about kids in general, but I know it's just a front. He adores our children, and they worship him. When he gets home early enough to play before bedtime, our house is full of giggles and yelps as he chases them around the house. I know he must be exhausted from a long day of work, but he's never too tired for a round of hide 'n go seek.

Jeff never misses an opportunity to teach our children, even if the subject is a little mature or over their heads. For Family Home Evening this week, he caught me off guard by stating, "Tonight we are going to talk about the birds and the bees." He then proceeded to tell them how babies are made ("When a mommy and daddy love each other...") and ended with the schedule for the next few days, including when they would get to meet their new sister. Throughout the whole lesson, Logan kept asking when we were going to talk about the birds and the bees. Finally Jeff gave in and they had a quick conversation about hummingbirds and honey bees.

I'd write more but my phone is hardly a word processing device. We are so lucky to have Jeff as a husband/father, and I am exited to have him once again welcome his little princess into this world (hopefully in the next few hours)!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Logan

Savannah had her post last week, so this post is dedicated to Logan.

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It seems like you hear a lot about the terrible twos, or the horrible threes, but no one says much about the fours. Maybe because that's the point at which things start getting better/easier. I have loved having a four-year-old. The tantrums and stubborn fits have started fading out, and in their place I find a willing, capable boy who learns to do something new for himself everyday. He recently moved into the basement to make room for the baby, and I was surprised at how smoothly he transitioned. I was nervous that he wouldn't like being so far away from us, but it was his idea to move and I think he likes the independence.

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Despite his initial disappointment at not getting a brother, Logan is eager and excited for his new baby sister. For months he has been asking me when she is coming, and I've always told him, "Not until March." Last week I picked him up from preschool and he came running to the car. "Guess what, Mom! It's March! March 1! So is our new baby coming today?" I think he is as ready for this baby as I am! He surprised us the other day when Jeff asked him if he knew where baby sister was. He quickly pointed to my stomach, then said, "She's in Mommy's tummy, but her spirit is in Heaven." We then had a quick lesson about spirits and bodies, during which Logan knew most of the answers before we could ask the questions. Thank goodness for good Primary teachers!

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Logan loves watching shows and playing games with the adults. He has been an avid American Idol fan for some time now. I didn't fully realize how much he was absorbing until I found him playing "top 20" with his cars and trains. He had separated his toys into a boy pile and a girl pile. Then he would take them two at a time and announce them: "Here we have Thomas the Train and a red car. The person moving on is... Thomas!"

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As Logan gets older, he is becoming more inquisitive and manipulative. He is constantly asking me what a word means or how to spell something. I try not to get burned out too quickly, but sometimes I have to tell him I'll explain it to him later. It's exhausting trying to keep up with his curiosity! He has also developed a bad habit of blaming others for all his shortcomings. At first it was just his animals ("I didn't hit her, the doggie did!"), then it was his sister ("Savannah bumped me and that's why I spilled the milk.") and now it has extended to his parents ("Mom, you forgot to get me my pajamas so I can't put them on!"). We are working on getting him to take accountability for his own actions. :)

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I can't wait for Logan to start Kindergarten in the fall, and not just because of the 3 hours each day I will be down one kid. He has loved preschool and thrives on the things he learns there. As much as I love sweet babies and chubby toddlers, I really think I will enjoy the next 10 years of child-rearing the most. Logan has given me a glimpse into the future, and I like what I see there.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Savannah

A false alarm the other day made me realize how little time I have before my life is consumed with diapers, feedings, burping, and cute pink baby buns. Although at times I wish the next 7 days would pass in an instant, other times I find myself clinging to these precious moments. Today, while Logan was at preschool, I took a few minutes to cuddle and laugh with Savannah. In an effort to savor the moment, this post is dedicated to her.

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Savannah has a fiery spirit. It is the source of her tantrums and stubbornness, but it also gives her passion and vivacity. She coddles her baby dolls with tenderness, but also disciplines them with a firm hand. She throws fits in the middle of the night that are exhausting, yet wakes up at 7 am as though she's had the best night's rest ever. When things are going her way, she can be the sweetest little girl in the world. But when things don't go her way... watch out.



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On a recent trip to a cabin, Savannah discovered a love for hot tubs. She is more of a fish than Logan by a long shot, so it shouldn't have surprised me that this was one of her favorite activities. She is also an avid singer. She knows the words to nearly every song on my iPod playlist, and sings them at the top of her lungs whenever I have it playing. While driving in the car she will pick up on the chorus of a song and start singing along, even if she's never heard it before. When she's serious about a song, she'll close one eye halfway and tilt her chin up.


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Savannah's hair is getting so long-- in many ways it is the length of her hair that reminds me how old she is getting more than anything else. We call it "Rapunzel hair" because it is long and golden and magical (at least that's what we tell her) and I have an aversion to cutting it. I love coming up with new ways to style her hair, but she hates having her hair done. On the flip side, she likes brushing my hair, which is fine by me. When I'm working at the computer, she'll get the hairbrush and stand on the chair behind me, "hmm"-ing to herself while deciding what to do.

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Savannah loves snow. She loves sledding and braved hills by herself that I would never have dreamed sending her down. Her snow clothes are all too small this year and so she would end up with snow down her boots by the end of the day, but still she was happy as a clam.


Despite her passions, Savannah is still my little darling. She is never too busy to give me a hug, and she loves to be held and cuddled. Lately, I've had to tell her I can't hold her because the baby in my tummy is getting too big. She takes this in stride, and tells me frequently that "I can't hold you because baby in your tummy, but I can hold Daddy!" (She still gets her subjects and objects mixed up.) The other day I told her the baby was coming soon, and she said, "Wahoo! Then I can hold you!"

Savannah is a dutiful little sister. She loves playing with Logan and will go along with just about any game he comes up with. I am sure she will be a good big sister, too, if we can just make it through the first year in once piece. To me she is still my baby, as I think all a mother's children always are. I love her just as she is and think she will be a fun one to have around as she gets older.